Monday, June 27, 2011

Throwing back Shots in Vermont

Today's adventure is a trip to White River Junction and pick up 6 locations for the Affair. Rising early and time on my hands, means I had time to complicate the trip.

First thing to do was look at my National Historic Garmin file with 18000+ waypoints and see if these was some low hanging fruit I could pick up. While I did add some waypoints I did not place them in the route.

Second file I looked at was the New Hampshire Historical Markers. I added 3 waypoints to the file and placed these in the route.

Third file was BBQ and there was a place in Claremont where 2 of the New Hampshire markers were so this got added to the route.

What started out as a 280 mile run was no pushing 325. By the time I got done executing the run it turned out to be more than 380 miles.

First stop was Winchendon Springs Post Office. I almost passed this place because it was not obvious this was a post office. From here I was headed to Keane, NH with nothing I had to grab, but ended up picking up 2 or 3 National Register of Historic Places.

Winchendon Springs PO

Wymans Tavern - First meeting of the Trustees for Dartmouth College

Next stop Bellows Falls. Picked up an Affair with how this chasin stuff all began.

From Bellows Falls it was a long haul (at least for this route) to White River Junction. This segment was broken up with a stop at Sweet Fire BBQ in Claremont, NH. This would give me the 3 required BBQ places needed for Smoke Chasing 2011. I had brisket with some cheese and mac for lunch. It was actually pretty darn good, but I am not the BBQ expert by any means. The cheese and mac, was quite cheesy, each fork leaving strings of cheese, like a spider web, to the dish. I was their first customer and they were reluctant to serve me the Cn’M because it had not been smoked. I am glad I still got it. I think this is the first time I got brisket versus pulled pork and I just may have brisket from now on.

In Claremont I picked up 2 New Hampshire markers. I think I have about 75% of the 200+ markers now.

This place is the oldest standing Episcopal Church in New Hampshire. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Somehow when I arrived in WRJ, I must have taken a wrong turn and I found myself heading out of town on Route 4. The Nuvi is very quick to calculate a new route; you don’t even see a recalculating screen most of the time. A quick confirm with the GPS and found the next spot was Bridgewater Corners. Reroute to the Post Office is in order.

Now back on track, I am on RT 4 heading south and west. This is where the not so nice roads of Vermont and tedium started. You can read about my state of mind in an earlier post.

In Putney I stopped for gas and Curtis All American BBQ was right next store. There are not a lot of BBQ joints in Vermont with BBQ in their name. I grabbed Curtis in case I elect the 15 joints, 1 in each state.

A hop on I91 (I had had it with the choppy and dirt roads for the day) I am cruzin at 80+ on the way to Lake Pleasure, MA for the last stop. Now all I had to worry about was getting a performance certificate, versus deer, ruts, potholes, etc, etc.

Lake Pleasure is a really really really small town (if it is one, but it does have a post office). As I follow the road to the PO, it keeps getting narrower and narrower. I half expected it to turn to dirt. I finally came to a spot that looked like a parking lot and shrugged, where was the post office. The road was narrow enough that I had just passed it. Drats no sign on the Post Office. Right across the street, maybe 10 feet is the Lake Pleasure Community House. On the wall they have a small glassed in information board with a notification that has Lake Pleasure in the title. I take a picture of this, hoping this is allowed for the Affair.

From Lake Pleasure it was a straight shot across RT2 to I190 and home. Starting around Saxtons River I decided I would stop a Kapi’s, a local pub for some clam chowder. I had some about 2 weeks ago and was shocked at how good their home made chowder was. It is creamy, thick and has quite abit of clams in it. I arrived here about 7pm to find out they stopped serving at 3pm. Another rut in the road. I had a couple PBR’s that are only 1.50. Kapi’s is only a stone throw from where I live.

Today's title is my attempt to allegorarize with the GLMC An Affair with Water treasure hunt. Maybe I should have stuck with Another Affair complete in Vermont.

Velvety Vermont - Deer Deer Deer - A Frame of Mind

NOT!! Vermont has always been known for their smooth, sweeping roads. Yesterday I think I found all of the hidden CRAP. While the ride wasn't all bad, it became tiresome. I found at least 5 unpaved roads that forced me to turn the bike around and head back for pavement. You know that road that goes up the mountain, not in terrible shape, but not the greatest and you wonder what it is going to be like coming down the other side. One road lead me to a mud pit, another unpaved looked like they carpet bombed it, holes the size of my bike (yes that is an exaggeration). I found myself not at the top of my game, but not at the bottom either. One road that said "Not for Thru Traffic", which I ignored and was penalized for my ignorance. (i wonder if ignor and ignorance are derivatives of one another) I also found all of the roads that have not recovered from the frost heaves yet. Roads with those cracks in it, wide enough to grab your front tire, acting like you are a slot car racer now, and they all seem to head for the side of the road.

Every time I encounter these end game roads, I mean to take a picture. Today was not different. I get consumed trying to turn a 800# bike (that includes me) around on these narrow things, I forget to take the picture. Same story each time, you need to remember to take a picture.

After getting off one of these hidden gems, I was turning onto another road to find the next water town. The car in front of me pulled over to the side to let me pass. Not sure if it was courtesy or something else. Of course it was a no passing zone, but I still accelerated to get around him, and I have to say reluctantly, I was content to follow for a while. Just as I pass, there it was a, FREAKIN DEER darting across the street. Brakes, squeeze, squeeze, squ, squ, slight nose dive, more brakes. My speed wasn't so fast to cause the ABS to become part of the show, but fast enough to require more than normal braking. I have seen those yellow diamond warning signs, which work on me like those deer whistles are suppose to work on the deer. This was my first close encounter since Montana. This too works for slowing the pace for a while.

While my heart rate initially went up, it soon returned back to normal. I keep remembering that I have become one of those other people that you read/hear about and not convinced that lighting strikes only once. It remained as a constant thought for the next 5 or so minutes, but then there was the next POS road to ride.

After hitting Saxtons River (which had the sign to the post office covered up by a tree), it was a pleasure to hit one of those velvet roads, I91 to get to my next stop, Lake Pleasure. For some reason that name sounds like a place for a horror movie.

While the day was a good day for capturing water, historic places and BBQ and uneventful from a disaster standpoint, it is my frame of mind I am writing about. As riders we all have those days and yesterday was mine.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Gulping Gallons in New York

Gulping Gallons NY Style is done. Either I really missed planned this trip time wise or we are just getting good at doing this stuff. We were actually in by 6:30pm each day and on the first day we arrived at 4:30pm. The new FJR handled flawlessly, but that was expected. We captured 64 locations out of the planned 67. Four locations were there, but did not have a sign on the building to take a picture of; 1 location that was not planned, but we just happen to ride thru. We traveled 1284 miles and according to the on board computer our average miles per gallon was around 41 mpg. That’s with limited inter-states as well. I think out of the 1300 miles, maybe 250 miles were interstate (mainly the MA pike to get out of MA), the rest two lanes highways and a lot of county and country roads. I did notice on this trip, every time we came across one of those deer signs next 5 miles, I pulled back on throttle. I even thought about how I would take evasive action if one of those critters just happened to pop out of the tall grass / grain lines we found ourselves in. We also picked up 2 BBQ places for the Smoke Chasing 2011 tour and 2 National Historic Landmarks in Auburn, NY.

Day 1 consisted mainly of getting out of MA, via the Mass Pike. Our first stop was Stuyvesant Falls, NY and we made our way up to Queensbury, just out side the Adirondack Park

Stuyvesant Falls

This building just grabbed my eye. Art Deco I believe, in Albany

One of many Post Offices we grabbed. This one is Round Lake, NY

Is it Live or Memorex

Grabbed a bite to eat here and snagged a NY BBQ Joint

Neat Ice Cream tin Signs


Erie Canal Lock

Almost done for the day. One more NY BBQ place.

Last pic of the day

Day 2 began as a drizzly day and we headed to Lake Luzerne. Our first road went straight up a mountainside on a nice twisty road, with quite a few switchbacks. Unfortunately the rain kept the speeds down, but this trip, like our others are not about how fast we can cover the route. Next stop was in the tourist trap of Lake George. LG appears to be a lot like all mountain resort / lakeside towns. Lots of neon, motel signs and other similar sites. All of this seemed on the old side from the 50’s versus new and fresh. Not run down, just that old time comfortable times that I remember as a kid. Schroon Lake was probably the first Adirondack town, with Lake Placid at the top as we headed west and south. It was right around here the skies decided to go from sprizting rain to rain, we toned down our speeds, but not our spirits. Our day ended in Lyons Falls, NY at The Edge motel. MeAsWe guessed that their name was because they were on the edge of town. I asked, it was because they were on the edge of the Adirondack’s.

Alot of the day looked like this.

I find beauty in this photos. Lake George

Not too far from where this begins.

To see this up and personal cost about 14.00 Lake Placid Ski Jumps built for the 1980Olympics.

Lake Placid Middle/High School. During the 1980 Olympics the school was issued a liquor license. It is the only school in the country to have this distinction.

Lake Placid Olympic Building. Lake Placid hosted the 1932 and 1980 Olympics

It wasn't until we left the Adirondacks that I finally found the sign I had been looking for

MeAsWe guiding me in for a landing

Day 3 had us heading out on crisp clear morning at 7am heading for Lake Ontario towns and the Finger Lake region. We rode out to the Fingers Lakes last year and I found the roads to be quite straight and boring. This year it was not boring at all. I wouldn’t say they were twisty like the Adirondacks, but more sweeping and rolling hills. We pulled into the Herkimer around 5pm. We rode past the Budget Inn and we both said hmmmm maybe not. We tried the Herkimer Motel, but they wanted a 139 and only had suites available. A call to the Knights Inn in Little Falls found us a more reasonable rate and only 8 miles away. Actually the KI turned out pretty good, since they had a restaurant and bar on site.

I know what I said up there, but his was first thing in the morning so straight not too bad until you get into the swing of things.

A really neat Peace Mural in Watertown NY. The sky kind of makes me think of the 60's

Henderson Harbor, NY. This is the smallest Post Office I have seen and I have seen quite a few.

Into the Finger Lakes region we found this sculpture

I have ate hear once before and had a good meal, so we stopped for lunch. Connie's Diner in Waterloo, NY. Don't forget to stop at the Women's Rights Historical Park right up the street.

In Auburn, NY we stopped at Harriet Tubman's church. Harriet was a major player in the Underground Railroad. This is a National Historic Landmark

In slightly better condition, another Landmark, William Seward House. William was the Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

I thought this was going to be one really big Neon, but as we got closer it looks as if it was de-neonized. Downtown Auburn, NY

MeAsWe realized that the Knights Inn we were staying at had Little Falls right on their sign, so she went up and got the flag and camera.

Day 4 was the short day. Only a couple of sites to pick up and then 85 miles of Mass Pike to get home. We started out later than the other days, since we should be home easily before 5pm. Coming out of Fly Creek, NY; we passed thru Cooperstown, NY. Of course we had to grab a picture of the Hall of Fame. A lot of today’s ride would be on US 20 as we dart off to towns in ear shot of the route. We passed the Duanesburg Diner, a place we stopped at last year. Arriving in the Albany area, I saw we had routed ourselves right thru the heart of the city. While most times I don’t mind the stop and go. I enjoy seeing the downtown sites and architecture, but ya gotta look up so see the neat stuff. Today I decided we should by pass the city and took the interstate around Albany for our last few stops. As we hung a right on NY 22 I knew we were riding right along the border of MA. Our last official stop was Lebanon Springs Jr Sr High School. No sign on the building so we opted for the Episcopal Church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Passed thru Pittsfield, Lenox and Lee onto the MA pike, home just around 4pm.

Our stop in Cooperstown

Our last stop Lebanon Springs was a bust, no sign on the school. We picked this up instead as a National Register of Historic Places instead.

On the road back home. Thanks for coming along

Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Long Trip of the Season - The Plan

Our first long trip of the season will be into the Adirondacks, Lake Erie and touching on the Finger Lakes in New York. The New England Riders are having their first outting at Acadia National Park, however these seem to be always held the first or second weekend of the month and I can not commit to go due to my work schedule. Those are the busiest times for me at work. I hope they all enjoy the weekend in such a grand and beautiful place.

This trip will be just around 1,225 miles in 4 days. No biggie in miles but we have around 67 stops for the GLMC Affair with Water tour and 1 to 3 BBQ places for the Smoke Chasing 2001 tour.

Our initial plan was to leave Friday 6/10. First chink in the armor with our first night stop in Lake George, Americade is also happpening too. I have a relative in Queensbury so that solved this first problem. Looking at the weather for the weekend, that is a problem we can not solve, so it looks like we shall put this off until Thursday, June 16th.

This is going to be the first big test for our new Nuvi 855. This past weekend it seemed to get real skittish, almost as if it got over loaded with new Waypoints. The unit was having a hard time taking in new inputs and rerouting. It was just slow, but a stop at Wendy's for a small chili and being shut off for about 20 minutes seem to cure its blues and it worked flawlessly for the rest of the trip. With the Nuvi's so plentiful and relatively inexpensive, this could finally end my search for another 2720 as a backup.

I wish I had one of those cameras that included the Long/Lat in the data for each photo was taken. Every time we stop and take a picture, I mark the spot in the GPS and cross ref the spot to the photo number. When we download the photo to the computer in update I update the attributes with the Long/Lat. I also create a MapSource file by year to where we have been. Why, I just don't know but I have been doing this since 2006. Just one of those things that completes our journeys.

It has taken awhile to knock out a firm plan, going thru 2 or 3 revisions, but ya gotta put a stake in the ground sometime and just do it. I just know we missed a town or two here and there. Heres the plan.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Go West Old Man/Young Lady - Encore

Today I booked our flights back to Salt Lake City. A couple of weeks ago I contracted Federal on reserving a spot for the FJR to be shipped to Salt Lake City.

We WILL make it all the way round this time. We WILL NOT ride after sundown. We may SKIP Colorado this time, and make it to Mt Ranier. We WILL NOT leave another FJR in the West.

The states will definetly hit are; Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada. If we have enough time we will make a run to Colorado and back.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One Week

the movie. This is about a guy that is diagnosed with cancer which must be treated immediately. One his way home from the Docs, he meets up with a guy that has a Norton Commando for sale, Ben (the guy) tests rides it against his wishes and ends up buying the Norton.

From here Ben starts out on a trip across Canada to figure out his life, his impending wedding day and things in general for 2 days. Well 2 days turns into more than 2 days.

MeAsWe watched this movie the other night and I completely enjoyed the travels. I was more into him stopping for pictures of ginormous paper clips and other odd objects than wondering if he was going to find the answers he was seeking.

When we are chasing stuff, whether it be a post office in western PA, a national historic place, BBQ restaurant or what ever the next little destination is, it is not really about that particular destination, it represents a stopping point to think about what we have just seen, experienced, people to talk to, people to watch and to forget about day to day life and just enjoy the moment.

Each time Ben came thru a tunnel, saw the glaciers at Banff National Park, talked with a person, I reflected back on our moments and made parallel to his moments with ours. Each one makes me smile.

At each of his stops, he takes a picture of either himself, or the place with his bike in it. Each picture became a lifetime for Ben. We have lived 10,000 lives, all of them memorable and plan on another 10,000 lives.